United Way says area's poverty, homeless rates declining

United Way says area's poverty, homeless rates declining

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond area's poverty, homelessness and teen pregnancy rates are falling, according to a United Way report.

These declines come at the area's population grew 6.4 percent from 2010 to 2016.

"Our Indicators of Community Strength report is a foundational component of everything we do," said James Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. "This year's report, along with our new Steps to Success framework, allows us to calibrate our efforts as effectively as possible and ensure our work has the greatest possible impact throughout the region."

The 2017 to 2018 report found the number of people living below poverty thresholds declined between 2013 and 2015 by 1.1 percent. The number of people decreased from 138,852 to 129,684, which is a decrease of 9,168 people. Of that, 5,541 were children.

The region also saw a 1 percent drop of people living in poverty over the same period, from 51,290 to 50,763. In Henrico, the decline was 2.2 percent, while in Chesterfield, the decline was 1.1 percent. Petersburg saw a 0.3 percent increase, and Hanover saw a 0.6 percent increase.

"Poverty is an enormous problem for many across our region - not just in our cities. If residents cannot afford basic needs like food and safe housing, it is extremely difficult for them to work toward a higher degree of prosperity," said Taylor. "It is encouraging to see positive trends in this area, but we know we still have a lot of work to do."

The report says the number of homeless dropped 19 percent from a point in time in January 2015 to a comparable day in January 2017. The number of chronically homeless single adults fell 27 percent over the same two-year period, according to the report.

Teen pregnancy rates also fell. There was a 47 percent decrease in teen pregnancies from 2010 to 2015 across the region.

Here is the full report below:

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